I had a call last week with the folks from Parllay (Tarek Najm, CEO & Founder of Parllay and Sherwyn Soff, President of Parllay Enterprise) about their new tools that aid content marketing using a semantic knowledge graph and gamification to close the loop between social media engagement and commerce. As content marketing expands its influence on SEO with each change to the Google Algorithm, finding the “right” content and creating valuable content on a consistent basis loom large for organizations seeking organic traffic and high quality scores for PPC campaigns.
According to Parllay CEO Najm and former data mining guru at Microsoft:
The Parllay ecosystem of products helps brands cut through the social clutter and establish meaningful relationships with their customers and build branded communities at scale. As a team of former data mining, advertising and knowledge engineering executives, we saw an opportunity to usher in a new wave of products to close-the-loop from content discovery and marketing to merchandising.
Translating that, Parllay provides support for content marketing based on what’s already working online rather than forcing companies to rely on current hit-or-miss strategies for crafting and curating content.
Here’s what Parllay looks like:
After the demonstration, I was pretty impressed with the content curation aspects of the tool. Sure, there are lots of free and low cost tools out there — like Feedly and Google Alerts — that push new content to you, but they lack the sophisticated back end that helps you decide which pieces of content to push out because it’s more likely to help build your community and make sales.
Integrated within Parllay products are social media integration and analytics to schedule and monitor performance of your social campaigns and listen to community opinions. But, digging under the hood, you’ll find some interesting aspects about Parllay’s tools.
An interesting aspect of Parlley Pulse is the ability to gamify the social space by adding coupons, surveys, or gamification to their content marketing to incentivize community behaviors like clicks and sharing. Brands can even target segments of their community with these incentives.
Depicted above you see a typical Parllay Channel created by a brand to increase engagement, build emotional investment, and close the loop between engagement and commerce.
Incorporating user-generated content with curated content within the channel provides a 300% increase in time on site according to Parlley representatives. Channels also includes gamification.
Downside to Parllay’s content marketing
Now, I’m not a cheerleader for the company, so I need to share some downside to Parllay’s content marketing tools.
For one, the cost. Pricing starts at $500/ month which makes this an enterprise tool out of reach for most small and mid-sized businesses.
I like Parllay Channels because they reach consumers on an emotional level — and, at it’s heart, all consumption is emotional — and brands have great analytics, but you have to drive consumers to yet another site where they engage with your brand. I see great value in this for brands, especially with Facebook’s declining organic reach, but I’m not sure it’s practical for consumers. It’s yet another place to keep up with and I’m gonna need a strong reason to visit on a routine basis.
Solving content marketing’s biggest pain
To me, content marketing’s biggest pain point is not curating content or discovering what to write about, but crafting custom posts that create value to my community on a consistent basis. This is especially true when we talk about long-form content marketing, such as blogging. Even understanding trends at a deeper level than Google Trends only helps so much because success of long-form content marketing relies on so many variables beyond just keyword, such as:
- length of post
- authority of site (SEO, in general)
- post images
- serendipity (you just never know when something is going to go viral sometimes)
- links to other authoritative sites
And, I guess I was expecting to hear something in the presentation about how Parllay solves these massive content marketing problems — something I didn’t hear. For my money, it’s the potential represented by billions of searchers finding my long-form content through organic search and coming directly to my online storefront that represents the greatest potential for my business — not the millions who might be Followers, Fans, etc.
So, we still have a long way to go in solving content marketing’s biggest challenge.
Don’t get me wrong. I still see value in Parllay’s approach to content marketing. If you’re interested in learning more, head on over and I’m sure they’re happy to give you a demo.